Remote Sensing for Insect Outbreak Detection and Assessment in Latin America

Roberto O. Chávez, Ronald Rocco

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Compared to the Northern Hemisphere, literature concerning remote sensing applications for insect outbreak detection and assessment is scarce in the Southern Hemisphere in general and in Latin America in particular. After a thorough literature review, we found few studies describing insect outbreaks in this part of the world, from which the case of the native moth Ormiscodes amphimone outbreaks in the Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia seems to be most relevant in Latin America. Only in Chile Ormiscodes amphimone disruptions have caused complete defoliation over 164, 000 ha between 2000 and 2015 with the largest single continuous event (one growing season) accurately measured with remote sensing of about 25, 000 ha. There are indications of other relevant outbreaks in Latin American countries, like the case of Thaumastocoris peregrinus attacks in Eucalyptus plantations in Brazil, but remote sensing assessments still need to be done. Potential causes of this scientific literature shortage could be that (1) there would be ongoing remote sensing applications for detecting and mapping forest pests in commercial plantations, but they would not be publicly available due to restrictions from timber companies; (2) main national and international remote sensing efforts are focused on assessing deforestation and degradation of Latin American forests (a threat especially relevant for tropical forest in the Amazon), while insect outbreaks may not be a main threat; and (3) there may be a lack of remote sensing specialists or existing specialists are not interested in insect outbreaks. We believe there is a research gap on insect outbreak detection and mapping using remote sensing in Latin America and that we have a great opportunity to fill this gap considering the large amount of open access satellite data and software.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForest Pest and Disease Management in Latin America
Subtitle of host publicationModern Perspectives in Natural Forests and Exotic Plantations
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783030351434
ISBN (Print)9783030351427
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Early alerts
  • Open-access
  • Pest management opportunities
  • Satellite imagery
  • Technological challenges


Dive into the research topics of 'Remote Sensing for Insect Outbreak Detection and Assessment in Latin America'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this